Thieves 0-1 Bahrain Victorious: Sonny Colbrelli saves team's bikes from audacious theft

Former Paris-Roubaix winner fends off group of ten youngsters who try to steal Merida bikes on the eve of Milan-San Remo

Clock11:38, Sunday 17th March 2024
Matej Mohorič's (left) sixth-placed finish at Milan-San Remo may not have been possible without the heroics of DS Sonny Colbrelli (right)

© Getty Images

Matej Mohorič's (left) sixth-placed finish at Milan-San Remo may not have been possible without the heroics of DS Sonny Colbrelli (right)

Bahrain Victorious' Matej Mohorič may have been unable to reproduce his efforts from 2022 at Milan-San Remo on Saturday, with the Slovenian coming home in sixth place behind winner Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), but his team's sports director Sonny Colbrelli had already produced his own heroics on Friday evening.

The former winner of Paris-Roubaix prevented a group of around ten thieves from stealing the team's fleet of Merida bikes on the eve of the year's first Monument, with Colbrelli taking to Instagram after the incident to share the news.

Read more: Milan-San Remo: Jasper Philipsen takes victory in photo-finish sprint

"Thieves 0, Team 1," wrote the Italian via Instagram Stories, with La Gazzetta dello Sport and Wielerflits later reporting on the incident.

“We were sitting in the hall of the hotel and suddenly we heard someone shout loudly: 'our bikes, our bikes!' It turned out to be our own bus driver, in his underwear. He saw someone trying to steal our bikes," said Colbrelli.

"We went outside and we saw about ten young people. I started walking and chasing them to the woods, where a car almost hit me. We couldn't catch them because they drove away in a car."

Read more: The audacity: 10 police bicycles stolen from San Antonio Park Police storage room in Texas

It was not the preparation for Milan-San Remo that the team would have been expecting, but Colbrelli's actions proved instrumental in stopping the brazen theft of the team's bikes from their Casarile hotel.

The 33-year-old was forced to retire after suffering from a heart condition on the second stage of the Volta a Catalunya in 2022, but ended his career with 34 professional victories, the last of which being his memorable Paris-Roubaix triumph in the mud at the Covid-rearranged 2021 edition.

Having ridden for Bahrain Victorious between 2017 and 2022, the Italian soon returned to the team's ranks as a sports director and oversaw a successful race for the team on Saturday.

View post on Instagram
 

Mohorič may not have been able to replicate his win from 2022, but the 29-year-old certainly made his presence known in the finale and almost snuck away to a second Monument victory.

However, it was not to be for the Slovenian, who was caught and passed by his rivals, before coming home in a commendable sixth place aboard his Merida Reacto bike.

Read more: A closer look at Bahrain Victorious' 2024 pro bike: Matej Mohorič’s Merida Reacto

Had it not been for Colbrelli's actions, it may have been a different story entirely for Bahrain Victorious, who will certainly be toasting to the Italian and the team's bus driver who raised the alarm. After the hair-raising incident, the team were taking no chances on Friday evening and accompanied their bikes to bed.

"In the end, we and the staff slept in our rooms with some bicycles," added Colbrelli.

For the latest news, interviews and analysis from the world of professional cycling, be sure to check out the Racing tab on the GCN website.

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